I am in my seventh decade with memories just beneath the surface that are easily triggered. A recent effort to assemble people that were connected long ago in the civilian world made me appreciate “time served” in the late sixties and early seventies. Some rights of passage are risky, yet keep the soul in good stead. My selective service board (note: small case) wanted me in 1966. Instead, I found myself commissioned a year later as Ensign USNR destined to get a set of wings. I got those wings on January 28, 1968 to head for the Northwest.
For those of us who appreciate a good book followed by a bad movie, ‘Flight of the Intruder” written by a squadron mate captured our stories that covered almost a decade of flying in hostile skies. My turn was aboard the USS Ranger in 1969/70 where things were somewhat quiet. We lost five of us. Their names are on the Wall.
In the biography written by Robert Moats Miller, PhD, professor of history, UNC-Chapel Hill he tells the story of my grandfather, Ernest Fremont Tittle in “How Shall They Hear Without A Preacher”. He preached pacifism. His youngest son paid the price of the belief as a conscientious objector in WWII. His grandson followed a different path.